IES Researcher-Practitioner Partnership

Understanding Hiring Practices at Spokane Public Schools

In recent years, Spokane has annually hired for approximately 250 teaching positions, for which there are typically around 1,500 applicants. The extent to which Spokane is able to select the highest quality applicants from this pool potentially has significant implications for the future quality of its teacher workforce and by extension, student outcomes. While the process used to hire teachers at Spokane is certainly intended to select teachers who most positively contribute to student outcomes, Spokane believes that not enough is currently known about the process to identify where it is failing and succeeding in this aim. And in spite of the priority the district places on teacher quality, to date, the district has not performed any systematic analysis linking hiring criteria to student outcomes.

The research aim of the proposed CEDR-Spokane partnership is threefold:

  1. To better understand the relationship between objective and subjective pre-Spokane service measures of teacher applicants and student achievement, teacher performance evaluations, teacher absences, and teacher attrition.
  2. To use what is learned in the first research aim to inform a rigorous statistical analysis of where Spokane’s applicant selection process succeeds and fails in identifying applicants who will be successful in the classroom.
  3. To apply for funding to develop and pilot test new applicant evaluation tools that address aspects of the hiring process where opportunities for improvement are identified by the school district and our initial analyses of administrative data.

To view the narrative of the successful application for this research partnership, please click here.